Florida Teachers Sue State Over School Reopening
A Florida teachers union sued Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday over the state's push to do a full school reopening next month.
The state is requiring a school reopening with in-person instruction but the American Federation of Teachers, the teachers' union that sued the state head, is concerned with the surge in coronavirus cases in Florida.
They are the largest Florida teachers' union and they sued with its local partner Florida Education Association, reported Forbes.
In the order, issued this month by the state education commissioner Richard Corcoran, the school reopening will have to happen at least five days a week for all students, an order opposed by many teachers.
Districts will have to submit reopening plans and have those plans approved by the state to receive funding.
What was violated?
The teachers say the push towards a school reopening defies a provision in the Florida Constitution that ensures public schools are "safe and secure", reported NBC News.
Union head Fedrick Ingram said in statement that DeSantis needed a "reality check" and their union is giving him one. Ingram added that the governor has to accept that the virus is "surging out of control".
The union said that doing a school reopening now "without the proper plan, resources and safety precautions" will only worsen the spread of the virus, risk public health and cause longer closures in the long run.
The lawsuit was filed in a state circuit court and named its defendants: DeSantis, Corcoran, Florida's Education Department and the State Board of Education. This may spark a debate over school reopening amid the pandemic in all of U.S.
In Miami, a lawsuit was filed, and it was joined by teachers and parents. The lawsuit said the Department of Education order defies the recommendations on safely reopening schools.
Other than Corcoran, the Miami lawsuit also names the Florida Board of Education, DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
DeSantis Kept His Distance
The order received backlash from parents, teachers and school districts since it was first issued. NPR said in a report that DeSantis chose to distance himself from the order when he was asked about it Monday.
"I didn't give any executive order," he said.
He pointed out that it was the Department of Education who issued the order and not him. But the Board of Education's commissioner and six of its members were appointed by DeSantis.
DeSantis said the mandate to reopen schools has his support, but it was a suggestion and not required.
In a statement, Corcoran said the lawsuit "frivolous" and "reckless". He believed the union may have not read or does not understand the order.
He said the order follows a Florida law that requires schools to be open for 180 days in a year, and the five days a week order for 36 weeks meets that.
Corcoran added that there are online options for families to choose from if they believe it is "what works best for the health and safety of their student and family."
The President has not been moved in his conviction to open schools again this fall. He threatened to pull funding from districts that do not do so.
Last week, the state recorded 80,000 cases with 742 dying due to the virus. That makes up more than 17% of all positive cases in the U.S. last week.
Florida has been struggling with a big surge in coronavirus cases. They were having more than 10,000 cases on Monday alone.
Want to read more? Check these out!
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!